Developer: CellaFlora Design
App Reviewed on: iPod Touch 4g
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Everyone needs a little bit of Zen in the middle of a hectic day. Some people comb sand gardens. Others, who find sand all over their office desk somewhat messy and more of a stress generator than a stress reliever, may find digital tone generators more to their liking. If that's your cup of tea, TonalVerse could fit the bill. Freshly updated, it now features a new ambient background track and improved sound quality.
TonalVerse’s languidly unhurried splash intro urges viewers to “be still, breathe" - a small reminder to slow down and focus on the present. It also suggests that users don headphones for the best experience. As the initial screen fades, users are presented with several colored "planets" or orbs, drifting lazily across the screen. Touch the screen, and the gesture produces more of the planets, each assigned it's own random tone. Collisions between planets create harmonious chords, and the sound pattern is echoed gently in the ambient background track. This produces a neat looping effect, layering each tone pattern generated on top of the one that is currently playing.
Depending on the settings selected in the bottom right of the screen (toggle walls, toggle gravity, or clear the screen), the planets will drift off the screen, or ricochet off the walls and each other. (Note: if the meaning behind the three color circles on the bottom right of the screen is unclear, tap the "information" icon in the bottom left, and all will be revealed. This is also where the "off" switch is for the background music.)
TonalVerse is visually appealing and amusing for a short time, but it's easy to get tired of. My two-year-old enjoyed filling the screen up with as many dots as she could, but even her attention only lasted for about five minutes. This is a good app for mindless sound doodling, perhaps, or a little bit of meditative musing, but functionality is somewhat lacking. Like other similar apps, it lacks the ability to record the sounds it generates. It doesn't have the potential to be used as an ambient sound generator, since the planets drift away and aren't replaced by more without user interaction. Still, for the price, it's one of the nicer-sounding sound toys on the market, especially with the recent update.